Using Art to Move Your Life

{Not all sharing is a good thing. An alley wall full of chewed up gum.}

I’m currently taking Brene Brown’s The Gift of Imperfection Life Class. That along with twice a day walks, listening to Oprah and Deepak Chopra’s free Destiny meditation and cutting out refined and processed carbs has completely changed me inside and out. It’s slowly lessening the gap between who I am on the inside and the me I show the world.

One of the things that has specifically shifted is my intention of being authentic, expressing my true self and using artistic expression and creativity to push me forward. That sometimes means dragging a paintbrush across a canvas, decorating a room, or writing down a poem. Sometimes I share it here. Other times I hide it away in a book.

When do you share and when do you keep things to yourself?

In Brown’s class, she discusses what it means to be vulnerable. Sharing what we feel is vulnerable is one way we release shame. {Kind of like this poem I wrote here.} The difference with sharing too much and sharing enough depends on your ability to be okay regardless of the feedback.

The same thing may happen if you’re deciding whether to share something deeply personal with the world. Maybe it’s a dream, a secret, a trauma, an amazing accomplishment, a fear…Whatever it is feels terrifying to share. But secrets can eat you up from the inside. The only way to freedom is through reaching out. The key is to be very discriminative about who you choose to share what to.

I’ve made this mistake too many times in entrusting my precious thoughts, feelings and dreams to people who couldn’t hear it so they a) criticized it b) tore it apart c) told others about it. In the end, expressing my dreams felt dangerous and left me feeling wounded. What I learned in the process it that if I could use art and creativity to work my way through what felt hard and personally dealt with it, then I had the inner strength to share the work with those I loved, trusted and felt safe around. And that in return, felt wonderfully healing.

These days, social media makes sharing all too easy. When we’re pissed at a friend, a relative or a boss, it’s so easy to vent but so hard to take back what’s been sent.

Here’s my suggestion.

The next time you’re going through a rough situation. Put a pause on blogging, updating and tweeting to the world. Instead open up a journal, write down your thoughts or take a pen, crayons, pencils, paint and draw it in on a canvas. Then when you’re ready and not depending on what others have to say about it, share it with those who are near and dear to your heart.

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Creative Friday: Got My Paint Brush On

I’ve been dabbling here and there with painting my own mini calendars. But I’ve been craving something more. So I devoted a whole night to enjoying the pure sensation of painting.

Although it’s no van Gogh or da Vinci, it’s still my own. And plus, I know you guys won’t judge (too harshly) right? Anyway, engaging in something creative feels healing to my soul. Here’s something I whipped up in a water color painting fury.

And for a fun sepia version:

It’s inspired by Sedona sunsets and the colors from my hometown of Oahu.

Have you been whipping up something crafty yourself lately?

I’ve been on a crazy crafting binge since 2012 and have stocked up 3 weeks of creative posts to share with you. But I’d love to know what you’ve been working on. If you’ve got it, flaunt it in the comments below.

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How Being Creative Can Help You Live Your Life

{flickr photo by: creativedc}

If you asked me if I was creative person, I’d hem and haw for a bit. You see as a child, I was very much the creative elf. In the midst of chaos and stress, I found solitude, peace and stability in the process of being crafty (a.k.a. being sneaky). I once, for example, made a ruckus by stringing together old soda cans and tied them to my closet. {Just in case someone tried to sneak in where they were not wanted.}

But I certainly didn’ t think I was creative. More like rebellious. I painted pink butterflies on my mom’s white walls, for example. Or nerdy. I often cross-stitched until I was cross-eyed and my hands hurt. Or sneaky. I once sat under a table and tape recorded a conversation my uncles were having while drinking beer and playing cards.

Still I didn’t think I was creative. Maybe just bored.

The word carried so much meaning. I didn’t want to pretend like I thought I was Van Gogh. And I wasn’t trying to be. I simply enjoyed the process of turning nothing into something.

I still do.

The Fear of Being Creative

But as I grew older, I started to hide behind the word. I put away my crafty tools. Told others I was anything, but creative. And even moaned and groaned whenever I was forced to do anything artsy.

And I stayed away from doing so for awhile. That’s until I started to feel a lull in my life. Writing was my passion, but I felt like it had gone stale. Starting my own blog inspired me to start creating again.

I began painting like a crazy fiend. I made necklaces and picture frames and other simple crafts here. It was liberating! Even though nobody was buying it, praising it or even seeing it, I felt sheer pleasure just from being in the moment of creating.

Why Creating Can Cause Happiness

I didn’t know there was a legitimate reason why I derived so much happiness from creating until I read Martha Beck’s latest article, “Now, Don’t Get Excited…” in O magazine. In it, Beck says:

“…while reading up on the latest research in positive psychology, I discovered a two-word instruction that reliably ushered me onto the plains of peace when I couldn’t force my brain to just ‘be still.’ Here it is: Make something. You see, creative work causes us to secrete dopamine, a hormone that can make us feel absorbed and fulfilled without feeling manic…Research indicates that we’re most creative when we’re happy and relaxed, and conversely, that we can steer our brains into this state by undertaking a creative task.”

Beck says engaging in a creativity activity, not only increases self-efficacy, not to mention a feeling of accomplishment, but wards off depression. Wahoo for that!

It’s just another excuse reason why I vow to keep creating throughout 2012. It makes life fun. It reminds me to not take myself too seriously. It teaches me to accept my mistakes and shows me that sometimes mistakes end up being beautiful, necessary and meaningful.

What compels you to create?

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Find Magic in Your Every Day

It’s easy to fly right by the magic that’s right there in front of you. To give you a good example, I’ll tell you a story.

Why I’m Sun Obsessed

I used to have bad seeing challenged eyes. Before lasik, I couldn’t read anything unless I squished it right up against my nose. My mom says it’s because I used to oogle bright lights for hours as a baby. I was mesmerized by them. Though I don’t always believe her stories are 100% accurate, I believe this one. Mostly because I have the same bad habit. I can hardly look away from the sun-it’s giant orange orb fascinates me. My husband has to stop and remind me we weren’t meant to stare into the eyes of the sun. Staring won’t, for example, reveal any well-hidden life truths.

Well, today I wear sunglasses and I still sort of stare at it, at an angle, through camera lenses. I’m stubborn, I know. But I’m stubborn for a purpose. When I gaze at the sun setting on the day, I see things that move me. As I watch that deep bright orb, I marvel at the orange glow it makes on everything it touches-the dark shadows that form creating unique designs from winter bare trees. I see the faded pinks and purples and blues that mix better than my watercolor paints can. And I am grateful for all of it. I wonder if others are looking at it too.

I am reminded that life itself is a work of art. And that every day, regardless of the drama I’d like to attach it, is beautiful in its own way. We only need to be of sound mind to really see it.

Thanks to Facebook

{photo by Professor Gary Greenberg. from the Daily Mail.}

While scrolling through my Facebook newsfeeds, I caught a story that was like my sunset awakening. A friend of a friend posted an article magnifying something we often take for granted especially those of us who grew up on an island. You know those tiny particles that get stuck between your toes when you’re at the beach? Well as a kid, I found them beyond annoying. My dad often tells me how I was so prissy back then, I didn’t want to go to the beach just because I hated the feeling of them in my slippers. Yes it’s sand.

But until now I didn’t really SEE them. I didn’t know the magic I held when I cupped them in my hand, when I walked upon them with bare feet, when I made castles from their tiny beings. And then I read this article and saw these pictures and I was both amazed and inspired.

If this much art and beauty can exist in something smaller than our pinky finger, then what possibilities hold within each of us? And how many other things are in our life right now that we are passing by, taking for granted, walking right over?

The magic is right there in front of us. We don’t have to wait for big opportunities, for big trips, for life changing events. All we need to do is begin opening our eyes and embrace them all.

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